Twenty horrific deaths and breakneck speeding dominated the news from South Africa’s busy highways this weekend.
The worst accident was a head-on collision on the N1 north on Thursday near Modimolle, an area notorious for fatal crashes. It involved a combi and a truck.
The northbound lane was closed and traffic diverted to the R101 as emergency personnel and traffic police cleared the scene.
Provincial transport spokesperson Matome Moremi-Taueatsoala said the driver of the combi, who is suspected of speeding, lost control and crashed into the truck.
In KwaZulu Natal five people died in a collision between a minibus taxi, a car and a truck on the N11 in Newcastle on Wednesday night – just before the Easter period began. Five more died and 10 were injured in another major accident in Mtunzini in the same province.
As per usual thousands of motorists, taxis and buses packed the N1 as early as Friday morning for the annual pilgrimage to the Zion Christian Church (ZCC) at Moria, 35km east of Polokwane.
The R71, which connects Polokwane to Moria, was backed up with slow-moving traffic for most of Friday but no serious collisions were reported.
Moremi-Taueatsoala said church leaders had an agreement with bus services transporting worshippers to start their trips at midnight.
He said they needed to ensure the vehicles had roadworthy certificates, which had to be supplied as proof prior to the journey.
Yesterday Simon Zwane, the spokesperson for the Road Traffic Management Corporation, said some drunk-driving arrests were made. A total of 141 people were arrested, 25 of which were for drunk driving and 14 for speeding [exceeding 160km].
A driver was arrested on the N14 for driving 196km an hour in a 120km zone. On the N1 towards Winburg a driver was arrested for driving at 180km. Another driver travelling from Hoedspruit, Limpopo, was arrested doing 122km in a 60km zone,” Zwane said.
Other arrests were from outstanding warrants and false documents.
A total of 92 629 cars travelled on the N3 towards KwaZulu-Natal in the peak travelling days of Thursday and Friday and 51 647 travelled along the N1 from Gauteng towards Limpopo.
Zwane said people were expected to start travelling back from today but the peak would be tomorrow when most people return from their Easter destinations.
Last year Minister of Transport Blade Nzimande said 510 people were killed on the country’s roads during the Easter holiday period.
Deputy President David Mabuza is expected to join the thousands of worshippers at the St Engenas ZCC for the Easter Sunday sermon in Moria today.
Traffic authorities in the province were in full force on the roads and are expected to keep a strong presence until early next week as pilgrims make their journey back to Gauteng and other provinces from this afternoon. – Mukurukuru Media
TALK TO US
How can we make sure that Easter and Christmas are not associated with road carnage?
SMS us on 35697 using the keyword EASTER and tell us what you think. Please include your name and province. SMSes cost R1.50. By participating, you agree to receive occasional marketing material